Episode 2.12 – The Snow Lion, Triumphant

(Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons. Painting of the flight of Chinese Emperor Xuanzong from his capital at the height of the An Lushan Rebellion. A few years later, the Emperor Daizong would similarly flee in the face of a Tibetan invasion which would ultimately capture Chang’an)

While the Buddhist Contention raged at home, Trisong Detsen set his sights to the borders of his domain. In 755, the same year he took the throne, a great rebellion broke out in China – led by a rogue Turkic general named An Lushan. This revolt gave Tibet the cover it needed to begin retaking their homeland from invading Chinese armies.

And once the process of consolidation was complete, the Tsenpo could wage war outside his borders as well. A lightning-quick campaign led to the capture of the Tang capital Chang’an in 763. Though the occupation lasted for just two weeks, the signs were clear to all: Tibet had the upper hand in war once again. 

For the rest of his reign, Trisong Detsen sent numerous armies into the field to recapture lost Tibetan glory, culminating in the reconquest of the Tarim Basin by the 790s. 

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